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Translink Buzzer Blog

Category: Fare Policy Review

Get involved! Let’s talk transit fares and how distance-based fares could work

Since 1984, the way we determine fares—including our zone structure and fare products—haven’t significantly changed.

With the introduction of the Compass system, we now have the ability to redesign our fare system so it works better for more people.

That’s why in 2016, we launched the Transit Fare Review, a comprehensive four-phase review to take a fresh look at how we price transit in Metro Vancouver.

Through the first two phases, we heard from our customers that the current zone-based fare system doesn’t work well and they’d like to see a system that prices fares more closely to distances travelled.

We want to hear from you in Phase 3 on how distanced-based fares could work as part of the Phase 3 Transit Fare Review survey, which is open until December 8. We’ve narrowed the options: by kilometre on rapid transit with a flat fare on bus, or by kilometre across the entire transit system.

We also heard strong support from customers in the previous phases for a system that’s affordable for frequent riders. So, we’re also asking for input on fare products that would provide benefits for frequent users, such as a prepaid pass or paying-as-you-go with a fare cap.

As well, we’d like to know if there’s support for expanding our customer discounts, since many people have told us they want to share their thoughts for how to improve discounts to customers.

But before you take the survey, make sure you watch the videos and read the discussion guide at to help you understand the options before you take the Phase 3 Transit Fare Review survey.

We want everyone to understand the options, their trade-offs and how they could affect prices for some trips as any changes we make to the fare structure will mean fares for some trips will go up, others will go down, and some trips will cost about the same.

A brief history of transit fares in Metro Vancouver

From one flat fare for all trips to over 100 fares to choose from, our transit system has tried it all in its 127-year history.

Since 1958, we’ve had five major iterations: 100 fare options in 1958, two fare options in 1965, “the common area” in 1976, one flat fare in 1981, “three zones-plus” in 1984, and our current three-zone system. Scroll through the slideshow below to learn more!

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Want to learn more even more?! Check out this Buzzer blog post from 2016.

Get involved at! Have questions? Email

Fare Review Phase 2 is a wrap!

Fare Review graphicThank you to everyone who participated in Phase 2 of the Transit Fare Review.

Over 11,600 people responded to our survey!

ICYMI: From January 30 to February 17, we asked the public to tell us what they think about varying fares by distance, service type and time of travel.

Over the next few months, we’ll go through all of the online surveys and feedback and share in detail what we heard.

Stay tuned for the Phase 2 Summary Report in summer 2017!

Next steps

We’ll use the feedback we received in Phase 2 to refine the long list of options into a short list for Phase 3.

We will be asking for your feedback on the narrowed down options for the new fare system in fall 2017. There will be lots of opportunities for you to get involved!

Want to learn more about Fare Review?

Author: Jessica Hewitt

Fare Review Phase Two starts January 30, 2017!

Fare Review graphicIn 2016 TransLink began an in-depth look at our fare structure as we kicked off our Fare Policy Review.

In Phase One, many of you agreed that it’s time to take a fresh look at the way we price transit in Metro Vancouver.

We’ve taken your feedback and used it to generate possible options for three core components of the transit fare system:

1. Distance Travelled
2. Time of Travel
3. Service Type

Now, the second phase of the review is starting and we want to hear from you about these options!

How to get involved

Discussion Forum

As part of the second phase, we’ve launched a brand new discussion forum, moderated by our very own Fare Review experts!

The forum is a great place to share ideas, ask questions and learn more about potential fare options.

Don’t be discouraged if some discussions seem too technical – asking someone to explain is a helpful way to deepen everyone’s thinking.

If you’re a serious transit fan, on the other hand, you’ve found your playground!

Either way, let’s talk!

Next Steps

Based on the feedback you give us in Phase Two, we’ll narrow down to a short-list of options to bring back to you later this year in Phase Three.

At that point, we’ll also begin to map out the options for varying fares by product type and user type sot tht we can bring forward a complete package for review in Phase Four.

For more information on our current fare structure visit
Have questions about the Fare Review? Email

Author: Jessica Hewitt

Fare Review Phase 1 results are in!

Fare review graphic
In May and June of 2016, we asked riders and others across the region to tell us what they would like to see in a new transit fare system.

Nearly 30,000 people participated!

After going through all of the online surveys, feedback from open houses and workshops, here’s what you had to say:

  • Nearly two of every three people disagreed the current fare system works well.
  • More than seven in ten people who responded to the survey said there should be more fare product options for different periods of time ie. weekly or multi-day pass.
  • Almost half of survey respondents said the 90-minute transfer window is not long enough.

Here are the top six priorities survey respondents want to see in a fare system:

1.   Make fares lower for people who use transit frequently

2.   Make fares lower for shorter distance trips

3.   Provide more fare product options for different periods of time

4.   More fare product options to make transit more affordable for families

5.   Make it easier to understand and predict how much you’ll pay

6.   Make fares lower for people with less ability to pay

Next Steps

In early 2017, TransLink will launch Phase 2 of the Transit Fare Review.

We will use the feedback from Phase 1 to help define and evaluate the options for varying fares by distance travelled, time of travel and service type.

We will also begin to map out the options for different types of fare products and passes, user discounts and rules around transfers between services.

You can read the full report here.

Author: Emma Keeler-Dugas